Nando’s Central Kitchen a 2015 Design Is…Award Global Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms of Global Award winning projects from the 2015 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn more about the winning projects. These are their stories.

Here, Tracy Lynch with Studio Leelynch spoke with us about the specific, South African-inspired design approach.


Describe this project in one word.



How does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?

Located in Johannesburg, Nando’s Central Kitchen is comprised of converted warehouse spaces and incredibly supportive interior design – the open plan spaces initiated a collaborative working environment,  and the inspired art collection serves as inspiration for the team. By combining real materials and authentic local designer pieces, we connect daily work to a sensory experience, deeply embedded in a powerful local context.


Design is a process. Explain your journey.

My design philosophy is focused on developing a deeply conscious response to the particular requirements of my clients. Powerful brand experiences which reflect the vision and values of the projects initiators are at the heart of my creative direction. The intended outcome is the realisation of a product, event, experience or interior that has the ability to inspire, to be more than the sum of it’s parts. In addition to conscious creative direction the celebration of local talent and creativity and the meaningful spend of resources is a focus of my design process. I believe the time for Africa is now, I want to celebrate this through my work and share with the world the positive creative energy that I am exposed to in South Africa every day.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?

Collaboration is key.  Harnessing the creative energy of South African designers result in a rich and layered interior story.  The collaborative process of infusing spaces with pieces challenge me as a designer to become a designer curator. The process added extraordinary value to the end product and allowed the true creative spirit of South Africa into the spaces.

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